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Hitchcock’s Visual Techniques

A common afterthought for most movie-goers is the importance of how the film’s director planned and shot each scene in a film to effectively involve the audience emotionally and physically. Famous director Alfred Hitchcock’s main focus when directing was to visually present important information and themes in the film’s plot and of the character’s inner thoughts and emotion. He achieved this by using innovative film editing, manipulating lighting, controlling perspectives, and using a variety of shot styles which can be seen in his films such as Psych, Strangers on a Train, and Rear Window. Alfred Hitchcockwas truly the master of creating themes and emotions in his films, not only through the narratives and …show more content…
From a technical aspect, Hitchcock admired the “approach to lighting used by the Americans in 1920 because it overcame the two-dimensional nature of the image by separating the actor from the background through the use of backlights to detach him from his setting” (Truffaut). Lighting has also been in used in a simple yet effective symbolic ways in Rear Windows (1954) where it’s used to symbolize knowing. When Jeffries’s neighbors have their apartment lights on, the audience and the main character are able to see inside them and see what the neighbors are doing. Once the lights are turned off and the shades are closed, both the Jeffries and the audience are completely unaware of what is occurring inside the apartments. From watching and examining his films, one can see that he manipulated lighting to also set a scene’s mood, ranging from warm and cheerful to eerie and depressing. Hitchcock’s use of lighting gave him not only the control over light but also the control over darkness. Darkness was used to manipulate what the audience saw and allowed Hitchcock to hide information from them in order to mystify certain objects, locations, or characters, while also creating feelings of discomfort or unease. Light in scenes give feelings of openness and clearly shows things while darkness can give feelings of being closed in. For example, in Psycho, …show more content…
He was known for his first-person views that was created by a back and forth cutting between the character’s face and to what they were looking at so the audience can also see the character’s response to what her or she is looking at. Hitchcock also manipulated what his audience can see and what they don’t see. By allowing the audience the audience to see certain things, Hitchcock was able to create suspense in his scenes, while hiding things, allowed him to create a vibe of mystery. Hitchcock, also known as the “Master of Suspense”, believed that in order to create fear and suspense the audience must know of the impending danger. He said that “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” A film that draws its uniqueness from Hitchcock’s masterful use of perspective would be Rear Window (1953). The entirety of the film is set in the main protagonist’s, L.B. Jeffries, apartment and of what he can see from his window. L.B. Jeffries is a photographer who is confined to his apartment due a broken leg and finds entertainment in looking at his neighbors. Everything we see is from Jeffries perspective as he using his binoculars and camera to spy on his neighbors. The lives of each of the neighbors are seen through their windows which gives off the feeling of being distance from what’s going on with them while also giving the sense of being there. This For a majority of the

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